Busy Summer For North Coast Lifeguards

Lifeguards from the Australian Lifeguard Service (ALS) charged with patrolling beaches across the Bellingen, Nambucca and Kempsey area have closed the books on another productive summer.

The summer holiday peak period was a busy one for Lifeguards. In the Bellingen Shire almost 20,000 people visited Hungry Head or North Beach which are both patrolled by the ALS. Nambucca’s three patrolled beaches attracted around 37,000 visitors with a significant amount (23,805) attending Scotts Head.

Kempsey’s reputation as a premium tourism destination was further enhanced this summer with in excess of 230,000 people drawn to the area. The bulk of these visitors were to Crescent Head, Horseshoe Bay (South West Rocks) and South West Rocks which successfully hosted the NSW Country Surf Life Saving Championships in February drawing an additional 15,000 visitors to the area.

A key priority for Lifeguards in 2015/16 has been the ongoing emphasis on preventative actions reinforced to team members during their pre-season training. The purpose of this training was to ensure that Lifeguards were aware of the need to constantly monitor their surroundings so that that they could intervene in situations before they escalated to the point that a rescue was required.

As result Lifeguards performed over 3,000 preventative actions in both Bellingen and Nambucca and an additional 11,000 in Kempsey. Rescue statistics remained relatively stable over the corresponding period last season.

Some common incidents that necessitated preventative actions included reminding swimmers to swimmers to swim in the flagged area, being aware of tidal changes and the presence of rip currents.

In Nambucca there were 6 rescues in down from the 15 recorded in the 2014/15 summer, 61 in Kempsey (60 last season), and for the second season in succession there were 4 rescues recorded in Bellingen.

ALS Northern NSW Coordinator Scott McCartney felt that it was a successful summer for local Lifeguards.

“This summer patrol season has been enjoyable for our Lifeguards. Like every season there are challenges which you anticipate when you are working in an environment that is so dynamic, but I know our Lifeguards handled every challenge thrown their way the professionalism and dedication that the public have come to expect from the ALS,” Mr McCartney said.

He also said that the three Councils should be commended for their approach to water safety.

“Bellingen, Nambucca, and Kempsey Councils have been a pleasure to work with because they are committed to ensuring that both tourists and locals alike are able to have a safe experience at the beach, and we’re looking forward to continuing these crucial relationships into the future,” he concluded.

Lifeguards from the ALS will resume patrolling beaches across Bellingen, Nambucca, and Kempsey regions for the 2016/17 season Shire later this year. Beachgoers throughout the winter months are advised to visit www.beachsafe.org.au for a list of patrolled locations, access to weather updates, and handy tips to help you plan your visit to the coast. It is also available to download as an app.

Bellingen Shire Council 2015/2016 Statistics:

• Rescues - 4
• Preventative actions – 3,970
• First Aid – 13
• Attendance – 17,348

Nambucca Shire Council 2015/2016 Statistics:

• Rescues - 6
• Preventative actions – 3,427
• First Aid – 32
• Attendance – 37,150

Kempsey Shire Council 2015/2016 Statistics:
• Rescues - 61
• Preventative actions – 11,023
• First Aid – 250
• Attendance – 233,885

Wed 8 Jun 2016